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  • P&G India and Vannam – IIT Madras host the first-ever ‘Vanavil: P&G IIT Madras Equality Summit’ to advance equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community

    Published on February 6, 2023

     The event was held from February 3 to 5, 2023 at the IIT Madras campus, where a host of distinguished speakers addressed various issues of contemporary as well as historical relevance to the community

    Chennai : Procter and Gamble India (P&G India), together with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, hosted the first-ever ‘Vanavil: P&G – IIT Madras Equality Summit’ to advance equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community. The Summit, held from February 3 to 5, 2023, brought together a host of distinguished speakers who shared thought inducing insights and personal stories with the students at the campus, to spark meaningful conversations around various issues of contemporary as well as historical relevance to the queer community.

    The event was flagged off with a masterclass with Vijay Sitlani, Vice President, Finance – Europe Commercial Operations, P&G, who shared his journey as an ‘Out-Leader’ and highlighted insights on driving inclusivity in the corporate industry. On the second day, few leaders from P&G India came together for a panel discussion on driving LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the workspace, including P&G colleagues from the LGBTQ+ community and alumni of IIT-M. The panel narrated their personal experiences, and shared insights into how P&G India is ‘Leading With Love’ adopting an always-on proactive approach for advocating equality & inclusion both inside and outside the Company, and the very important role of allies.

    On top, the summit delved into topics linked to mental health, sensitization, arts and selfcare The Summit also featured noted personalities including Madhavi Menon and Ruth Vanita (Academic Writers), Chapal Mehra (Public Health Professional), Kalki Subramaniam (Transgender Rights Activist), Anindya Hajra (Gender justice advocate), Ramakrishnan L (Public health professional) and Rumi Harish (Musician, Painter) amongst others.

    This marks a new chapter in P&G India’s journey of driving inclusion for LGBTQ+ community, with this first-ever engagement with one of its campus partners – IIT-M, and their student-run LGBTQIA+ support and sensitisation group -Vannam. 

    Commenting on the same, Ankur Bhagat, Vice President – Product Supply & Executive Sponsor for LGBTQ+ Inclusion, P&G India said, “At P&G, we aspire to drive equality and inclusion in and around P&G’s entire ecosystem, through our people, our brands, our partners and in communities. We have made deliberate efforts to intertwine work that we have undertaken for the LGBTQ+ community with our priority of being equal and inclusive. A true example of this is GABLE, a program dedicated to fostering an inclusive, supportive global network that enables LGBTQ+ employees, and their allies, to contribute to their fullest potential and to bring their authentic self to work every day. We are happy to partner with IIT Madras for this first-of-its-kind Summit. We believe that events like these hold the potential of sparking a long term and impactful shift in mindsets, triggering wider change and acceptance, and helping us shape the role that corporates like ours can play in advancing equality and inclusion”.

    IIT Madras Spokesperson said, “We are delighted to join hands with P&G India for organizing the first-ever Vanavil: P&G India IIT Madras Equality Summit. IIT Madras has long held the reputation for transforming talent into leaders of tomorrow, who have gone on to make a difference in the society through their work in their respective fields. Many of these leaders today work with organizations like P&G> it was heartening to learn about the efforts corporates like P&G are taking to advance inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community. We are proud to partner with P&G India for organizing the Summit and bringing eminent thought leaders together under one-roof to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion. I am confident that the conversations this Summit witnessed, will motivate and enable our students in understanding the true meaning of equality and inclusion.”

    P&G introduced GABLE more than 25 years ago as a network for fostering workplace equality for LGBT+ employees and today, has grown into a supportive and global community, with chapters in 40 countries including India. These chapters represent the diversity of its employees, as well as strong allies to support individuality and inclusion. Further, P&G India has led the way for LGTBQ+ inclusion within the Company with several dedicated initiatives including:

    –          Sensitization and ‘GABLE at Work’ trainings for employees including new hires, managers, and plant technicians, to create and nurture a companywide ally network, and encourage employees from the community to bring their true authentic selves to the workplace.

    –          The Company also transformed its comprehensive financial and medical benefits for employees into a fully inclusive and equality-based program, which extends to partners of our LGBTQ+ employees

    –          The Company partnered with Pride Circle for ‘RISE 2022’, India’s premier LGBTQ+ job fair and conference, where LGBTQ+ job seekers can meet companies, interact with the recruiters, learn about job opportunities, and get interviewed from the comfort of their home

    –          P&G offices and manufacturing sites have taken up the onus to be visible in their efforts, through diverse visuals and Pride colours across touchpoints to keep reinforcing safe spaces – from email signatures to Pride rainbow-colored entranceways.

    –          The Company has endeavoured to create infrastructural interventions like dedicated gender-neutral restrooms at its offices, which has further helped pave way for driving inclusion

    –          The Company recently introduced an affinity group – Out and Proud chapter in India, to empower and encourage employees from the community to come together and aid each in a circle of trust

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